By DOUGLAS BURNSStaff Writer
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
MANNING — Manning Police Chief and city administrator Larry Lesle said this morning he plans to run as a Democrat for the Iowa House seat being vacated by Republican gubernatorial candidate Rod Roberts.
Lesle, 40, also a member of the Manning school board, said he expects to gather the 50 signatures necessary today and file with the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.
“The opportunity was there, to just have more of an active voice,” Lesle said.
Roberts announced last week that he would focus exclusively on his bid for governor.
That opened the door for other candidates for House District 51, which includes all of Carroll County and parts of Sac County and Crawford County.
With a Friday filing deadline looming the only other candidate to have filed as of press time today is Republican Joel Pawletzki, 41, an employee at Graddy’s tomatoes and a hospital nutrition worker.
For his part, Lesle, the police chief for seven years in Manning and the city administrator for over two years, described himself as a conservative Democrat who would seek to rein in government spending.
“We can’t just write a blank check,” Lesle said.
Lesle also has experience with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the Carroll Police Department and the Iowa Department of Transportation.
He is a native of Auburn, and a family farm in that area, settled by his German great-great-grandparents, will soon be 125 years in the family.
Lesle and his wife, Melissa, have three children: Alexis, 12; Coltan, 11; and Camryn, 8.
Lesle said he grew up in Republican territory but has been a Democrat for about 15 years. He voted for President Barack Obama in 2008.
On the issue of abortion, Lesle said it should be illegal for women who have unwanted children as a result of consensual sex.
“That was their choice to begin with,” he said.
But victims of rape and incest should have the option of an abortion as well as women whose lives are in danger as result of pregnancies.
“That’s a choice that has to be made,” Lesle said.
Lesle said at this point he is undecided about whether gay marriage should be legal in Iowa.
His early religious education will be a part of the decision, Lesle said.
“Everything was Adam and Eve with me,” Lesle said.